157: Follow the Cloud

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Shortly after being delivered by God out of 400 years of slavery in Egypt, the people of Israel constructed a portable Tabernacle for their worship of God. Numbers 9:15-23 tells us that God settled His presence over the Tabernacle in the form of a cloud. At night, the cloud took the form of a pillar of fire, like a memorial flame that never goes out. Cloud by day. Fire by night.

The Bible records that God led the people by movement of this cloud. When God’s cloud would lift off the Tabernacle and began moving, the people of Israel started packing and following. When the cloud stopped, the Israelites set up the Tabernacle and pitched their tents. Whether the cloud remained in an area one night or one year, the community didn’t move until it did. The people kept their eyes on the cloud, watching for any movement.

Psalm 123:2 relates, saying, “As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he shows us his mercy.” A servant was to fix his eyes on the hands of his master for instructions. The maid was to watch those of her mistress. The instructions were given by hand motions, not conveyed out loud in front of guests.

This same attentiveness is what we hope for when we go to a restaurant. We hope our waiter is watching to see what we need before we say anything. The writer of the Psalm is suggesting that we should have the same alertness to the Lord, to detect His slightest direction.

I wish I was more sensitive to God’s movement. I don’t continually keep my eyes on Him throughout the day very well. I wish I was more alert. I don’t think I’m alone in this, either. When we have a question, sometimes we wish God would “write the answer in the sky.” Usually, though, He directs us through the finer movements of His Holy Spirit.

My hope is that this blog will encourage all of us, myself included, to fix our eyes on the hands of the Master. When we do so, we will notice the nail prints from the cross and respond as did the Apostle Thomas, “My Lord and my God!” Daily we need to be reminded of the tremendous cost the Lord paid in order to bring us into a right standing with God.

Doubtful that you’ll stay inside your garage until you see a cloud or pillar of fire moving down your street. God will direct you through His Spirit. Has He been nudging you in some way, showing you where He is working? He beckons us to join Him, to travel with Him, to walk by His side.

Marlon Furtado

I regularly went to church as a boy, but I was not exposed to the Gospel until I was nearly twenty years old. Hearing that God loved me in spite of my behavior was new to me. In response, I received Jesus Christ and became one of His followers on September 12, 1971. I practiced chiropractic for eight years before becoming a pastor from 1986 to 2018.